Off the beaten Hack
Kandaarian divine icon
Kandaarian clerics traditionally carry a much larger divine icon than their southern counterparts called a gandráss, taking the form of a stout pole some 8-9 feet long. Trees are scarce in much of Kandaaria, making the use of valuable wood for these icons all the more significant. Each religion is associated with a particular type of tree used to make their priests’ gandráss, but the gods all also identify with the ash tree; the great ash Yggdrasil being at the centre of the entire Norse pantheon. The top of a gandráss is carved with a likeness of the god’s face (illustration: a gandráss of Freyja the Guardian, goddess of freedom) and below that symbols, runes and prayers of their religion.
Gandráss is pronounced: “garn-der-arse”. A typical ash gandráss weighs 6 lbs, and Kandaarian clerics are given their first divine icon as part of their Investiture ceremony. It will cost 1d4px10 silver pieces if the priest has to pay for a replacement. The gandráss may used as a staff to aid walking and is often a focal point at the head of a nomadic tribe. These are not weapons however and a priest or devout follower of a god would only use them as such as a last resort; if used as such the gandráss counts as a Staff with respect to Talents and Proficiency, has Reach of 10 feet and Speed of 15 seconds.
Bonus Skill: During character creation, all Kandaarian clerics receive one purchase of the Direction Sense skill for free (no BP cost).
TIP: Whilst many divine spells utilize the cleric’s divine icon as a catalyst, it is not required for all of a cleric’s spells. If a priest’s divine icon should become lost or destroyed, the first level spell Ceremony: Consecrate Divine Icon can be used to sanctify a mundane replacement.
The gandráss developed with Hoarlanders nomadic lifestyle as the lack of permanent settlements meant they built no churches. At formal times of worship the staff is planted firmly in the snow with the carved face of the god facing south, ensuring the congregation all face north towards the gods’ realm when they pray. The priest typcially stands in front of the gandráss facing north to address their god, and south when addressing his congregation.
Similarly, the gandráss is planted in the ground like this when the cleric prays for his divine spells. Unless prescribed otherwise by their religion, Kandaarian priests are free to pray at any time of day and their spells remain for 24 hours thereafter. Nomadic tribal life has led to this traditionally being either early in the morning or late in the evening, when the tribe is encamped. Kandaarian clerics who do not face north when praying will not receive any divine spells that day.